The Inn at Meander Plantation, a Locust Dale, Virginia bed and breakfast opened in September 1992, after undergoing a year of restoration and preparation. Prior to that, the house had been a private residence since it was built in the 1700s. This unique property is steeped in history.
Archeologists have discovered a prehistoric native American site on the property near the Robinson River. Their excavations unearthed spear and arrow points and chards of pottery, among other artifacts, dating back as early as 2000 BC.
The plantation was patented in 1726 by Col. Joshua Fry, a member of the House of Burgesses and professor at William and Mary. Col. Fry and his partner Peter Jefferson, father of Thomas Jefferson, surveyed and drew the first official map of the area known as Virginia. Fry commanded the Virginia Militia at the start of the French and Indian War, with George Washington as his second in command. After Col. Fry died from injuries sustained in travel to battle, Washington assumed command of the forces and “locals” say Washington encamped here for about a month to pay tribute to Fry’s widow and children.
Originally named Elim, the manor was enlarged in 1766 by Joshua’s son, Henry Fry. (He is buried in the family cemetery located in the field behind the house.) His lifelong friend, Thomas Jefferson, visited here often, as did General Lafayette. William Wirt, famous 18th Century American lawyer and counsel for the prosecution against Aaron Burr in 1807, spent much of his youth here. At that time, the plantation encompassed more than 3,000 acres.
During the Civil War, the mansion housed a Union official, Col. Baynard. Numerous important Civil War battles were fought near the property, which is only 4 miles from Cedar Mountain, site of one of the war’s largest and fiercest cavalry battles. Local historians believe the Battle of Cedar Mountain actually began at Meander’s front gates.
The property name was changed to Meander in the early 1900s by owner George Shearer, who maintained the property as an estate for his daughters, Judith and Julia. They lived their entire adult lives here, and as noted breeders of horses, cattle and dogs, the colorful, locally-storied sisters are credited with introducing Whippets to America. The Meander Whippet still sets the breed standard.
Suzie Blanchard and Suzanne Thomas bought the property in 1991 with the specific intentions of converting it to its current status as an 10-room Virginia wine country inn. A working agricultural property thoughout its history, the land continues to be farmed for hay, corn and soybeans, as well as a small vineyard producing cabernet franc, petite manseng and cabernet-norton hybrid wine grapes. The Virginia Restaurant at the inn is open to the public, as well as inn guests.
Experiencing this award winning Virginia bed and breakfast is guaranteed to be an incredible experience.